By Darrel Wheeler, Contributing Writer

Mr. Dave Meals, aka “Sonny”, celebrated his 80th year of life with a whole lot of family and a bunch of his fans and closest friends.

The birthday celebrants took up a huge chunk of Spring Valley Park’s real estate on the 28th of May to eat, drink and be happy with Mr. “Sonny Boy” Meals. Kinfolk showed up from as far away as Texas, Arizona, New Year, Chicago, LA and Northern Cal to squeeze the hand, embrace and converse with the great-grandfather. The distant travelers, along with all the other participants, were treated to a BBQ soul food banquet provided by Elaine of Fargo’s BBQ.

“Elaine did a great job. I want to thank her for coming through for us,” Cherry Meals shared.

Sonny’s grands, great grands, and 11 of his 12 children were able to attend his very special occasion. “This really means a lot to me that they showed up to celebrate with me,” Sonny said.

If I could bottle all this love I received today I would be a rich man. This is so beautiful. I thank everybody for showing up today. I love all of y’all. This year has been a tough one. We lost a lot of good friends. We lost Johnnie Blue and Sharon Gibson, to name two. Both of them would be here right now, but they are here in spirit,” he shared.

Wife Cherry Meals had this to say about the birthday boy: “I’ve been planning this for a year. It wasn’t easy but I had some outstanding helpers,” she said. “Sonny deserved a big celebration like this. I could tell he had a good time and that’s what counts.”

Mr. Sonny Meals, the smooth operator, who was born before Rock & Roll, said, “I still feel good!